Garen Build Guide by Radiowave

Not Updated For Current Season

This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.

League of Legends Build Guide Author Radiowave

Garen, living to fight another day

Radiowave Last updated on July 31, 2011
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Ability Sequence

Ability Key Q
Ability Key W
Ability Key E
Ability Key R

Not Updated For Current Season

The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.


Brute Force
Improved Rally

Offense: 22

Strength of Spirit
Veteran's Scars

Defense: 0

Expanded Mind
Blink of an Eye
Mystical Vision
Presence of the Master

Utility: 8

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Welcome to my first Mobafire Champion Build! When I was new to the League I often searched this site for useful builds, but as I rose through the levels I adjusted them to suit my playstyle better. Now i'm hoping to do the same for anyone else new to the League. Garen, the Might of Demacia, is a very well-rounded, easy-to-pick-up type character, but don't make the mistake of thinking playing him is noob territory. A Garen in the right hands, and a Garen in the wrong hands are worlds apart. Now let's begin, shall we?

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Pros & Cons of Garen


    Durable from the start (and only becomes moreso)
    Moderately high damage output
    Easy to learn on the go
    Good variety of combat abilities
    Tankbuster Ultimate
    You'll like the way you look (It's a GARENtee)

    Painfully slow (especially in the beginning)
    Can be focused and ganked if the player is not careful (due to slow movement)
    Entirely Attack Damage (no alternative vs high armored champions)

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Runes (Often mistaken for luck)

Runes are a big part of any Summoners game. They can change the tide of battle in an instant, and often do. I recommend holding off on Rune purchasing until Summoner Level 20 or above, as that is when the highest tier runes become available (and you can buy a lot more of them with all that saved IP!) as the lowest level runes are not as powerful, and thus not as game-altering. For Garen I chose a simple rune build: Armor penetration (arguably the best endgame stat) for its eternal usefulness against enemy resistance, Cooldown Reduction (to keep those abilities rollin' out), and the last one is a players call. I went with Greater Seal of Alacrity for help in early game ganks.

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Summoner Spells (Flash n' Crash)

I tend to stick to using Flash and Exhaust on my melee DPS champions. Flash is invaluable for both escaping and pursuing enemies, as well as getting through inconvenient obstacles. Exhaust, however, is commonly misused as a slowing device by most of the League of Legends community. Its 40% slow is decent for this purpose (certain champions have better slows, so if you're really into the whole 'slowing' thing try one of them out) but if anyone bothered to read past the first few words (or not simply watch the video) they'll notice Exhaust also decreases the damage dealt by the targeted champion by 70%. Seventy. Percent. That means they'll be dealing 30 damage for every 100 damage they CAN deal. You drop this baby on a champion after they go into burst mode, and you've most likely saved yourself (or an ally) from a quick demise. I've seen Exhaust change the tide of a team fight by putting the top enemy DPS on the bottom of the priority list for just enough time to kill off a good chunk of the remaining foes. Don't waste it!

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Skill Sequence

I kind of derped it here. Garen is versatile enough to the point where it doesn't really matter exactly which abilities you acquire (and when) but in order to play him well, you'll need to have a plan. I usually go with Judgement to allow for some nice early minion farming. At its first levels it wont be strong enough to kill minions on its own, but it can help weaken each wave to get you closer to the tower. Next I go for Courage because the additional armor and magic resistance effect (as well as its active buff) are invaluable for avoiding an early gank. Decisive Strike is nice to have for harassment against spell-heavy champions, but it isn't a must. I prefer to take one rank of it before level 6 (just to have around) and focus mainly on my Judgement and Courage spells as they compliment each other better than the ships that make up Voltron. Always grab Demacian Justice if it's available! It is a fantastic final blow (Bonus damage is based on how much health the enemy champion is missing)

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Combat and how to survive it

In no way am I saying to flee every fight, what I am saying is there's no reason to die senselessly. Unless you're a hero with an AoE stun and no escape mechanism, there is no way to "Be a hero" or "Take one for the team". Mid and Late game Garen (usually around the time Team Fights begin) is exceptional at surviving. I don't mean fleeing the fight and making it safely home to grandma, I mean winning and fight and still being able to instinctively boast in All chat without fear of death. Most players will do one of two things in a fight: 1) attack the tank (somehow thinking this is the tactical course of action) or 2) Focus the squishiest (player with the lowest armor/resist or health) target first. Garen is neither squishy, nor is he a tank, often making him 3rd or 4th on the Target list. This gives you a pretty flexible engagement, allowing you to change targets, combat cycles, or even get the hell out of there if the fight is going poorly. Should it come to the third option, please make sure there is no way you can turn the tide of battle (you'd look pretty foolish if your team ended up winning the fight and your chilling at the inhibitor with 75% HP) because losing a teamfight can lose you the game, and you don't want it to be your fault. Using your Q (Decisive Strike)and E (Judgement)abilities are essential to victory, try and focus on the weaker champions with your E attack, and if your allies are in trouble hit their attackers with a few Q's. If you find yourself under heavy attack, use W (Courage) to help you survive and then E. As you're spinning, move towards the bulk of the enemy team. Some players will instinctively keep their distance which can give you some room for air. If you need to, use Flash or Q to escape the fight. NOTE: Escaping a fight in the interest of absolute survival is more helpful to your team than your unnecessary death. Granting the enemy an extra 300-500 gold would be far more devastating isn't a downside to denying them a kill, is there?

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Commando Garen? Anti-Armor Division, definately

Demacian Justice deals a set number of damage on cast. The damage is moderate, and one to many Garens use it as an opener...*sigh*

Demacian Justice deals additional damage to an average ratio of about 1 bonus damage to each 3 health missing on the target. To put it into perspective lets say it will deal 500 flat damage, and then a 1-to-3 bonus damage/missing health ratio in addition. This is a beautiful Tank breaker, making every 300 missing health on a (usually) health-heavy tank into a sweet 100 bonus ultimate damage. Hitting a tank around half health with this baby will knock him down to 20% in the worst case scenario, or just outright kill him (it's happened before!)

Don't waste this great oppurtunity to crush an enemy tank! It's always fun to watch a team fall into disarray when the tank gets dropped.

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Most people just look at the pictures at the top so I'll keep this brief. In the beginning you can go with the Doran's Blade i've prescribed but the 3% life steal wont keep you stable in a lane, so if you're the cautious type I'd recommend grabbing Boots of Speed and 3 Health Potions. Garens passive helps him regenerate health rapidly, but any experienced Garen player will tell you that under fierce harassment it'll do little to help you. Everything else is fairly standard, Damage items for extra power, Critical Strike items for crits (and a bonus to Judgement damage output), health for health, attack speed for...ah you get it already. This build might not turn Garen into the massively lethal glass cannon he has the potential to be, but it will turn him into a mostly lethal titanium reinforced cannon you'll learn to love. Once you've acquired Atma's Impaler you can sell your Doran's Blade (or fill the empty slot if you took the boots first) and replace it with whatever you desire. I'd grab an Infinity Edge for the +80 AD and the extra crit chance (which once again will boost the damage output of Judgement!) as well as the bonus crit damage, but its a matter of preference.

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Fill the Offense tree as I've shown to maximize Attack Damage output, the extra points in utility you can allocate however you want to, honey.

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Summary (The End)

Remember to never be afraid to stand and fight! Garen is tougher to take down than most heroes of the League, and can easily turn the tide of battle if you use your abilities efficiently. Unless you play over-aggressively you shouldn't be focused which will give you breathing space during those otherwise franticly intense fights. Give Garen a try if you're tired of being pushed around by the meaner champions like Vayne or Tryndamere, and always always always remember to shout "DEMACIA!" as loud as you can whenever you charge into battle!

Thanks for reading my guide, please leave comments, tips, or questions in the section below...and don't forget to rate!
- Radiowave (TheJustSword Server:NorthAmerica)